Friday, December 5, 2008

Malaysians paying a premium for fuel

News analysis by Izwan Idris - The Star Online - 5 December 2009

MALAYSIANS were paying RM1.52 per litre for petrol when crude oil was below US$50 per barrel 3½ years ago.

Today, we are paying RM1.90 per litre as crude oil hovered at US$48 per barrel yesterday.

Based on crude oil price at US$50 per barrel, the market price for RON 97, the most popular petrol grade sold at local pumps, is estimated at RM1.40 per litre. RON 97 accounts for about 80% of the more than one billion litres of fuel sold at local pumps every month, according to some estimates.

Analysts believe that pump operators have been paying duties for all fuel products since October. At current prices, that would translate to about 50 sen per litre in extra fuel revenue for the Government.

The volatility in the international crude oil market and the lack of transparency on how local fuel price is calculated make it very difficult to accurately estimate how much duty the Government has collected in recent weeks.

Crude oil hit a record US$147 in July, resulting in the Government having had to subsidise every drop sold at local pumps.

The global financial crisis turned worse after that, sending crude oil prices plunging. This resulted in six price cuts at local petrol pumps since August.

Recently, there had been talk about setting a floor price for fuel sold at local pumps. The extra income from duties collected for fuel sale will help the Government cut its budget deficit.

The funds could also be channelled towards pump-priming activities to prop up the economy, said RHB Research Institute in a note.

If a policy to set a minimum price for fuel were introduced, the additional revenue should be diverted to improve public transport facilities.

Fast-tracking projects such as expanding the Light Rail Transit network in the Klang Valley and building a new one in Penang, should be a priority.

Such projects would also give a much needed boost to the construction industry and alleviate traffic woes in the cities.

In the US, fuel sold at pumps is taxed. The money collected is used mainly for transportation-related projects. If not, then drivers should pay for fuel at market price, said Bank Islam senior economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin.

He said the Government should divert funds from fuel revenue into developing alternative sources of energy. In Brazil, almost all light vehicles can run on ethanol made from sugarcane.

Back home, palm oil is blended with fossil fuel to make biodiesel, but its usage remains below expectations. Increased use of alternative fuels will lower demand for traditional fossil fuel, and help keep prices of petrol and diesel in check.

Using palm oil-based fuels would also lend support to the plantation industry that is now struggling to cope with the sharp decline in the price of crude palm oil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fuel prices down another 10sen

The Star Online - 2 December 2008

PETALING JAYA: The retail price of petrol and diesel will go down another 10sen effective Wednesday.

The new price of RON97 petrol would be RM1.90 per litre down from RM2.00, while RON92 petrol and diesel would be down to RM1.80 from RM1.90 per litre, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a statement released at about 5pm on Tuesday.

“As the world fuel price has had a sharp decrease lately, the Government has decided to once again reduce the retail price for the public’s benefit,” he said.

This is the fifth time petrol and diesel prices had been reduced since Malaysian petrol retail prices hit a high of RM2.70 per litre in June.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Send message of prudence in petrol price floor of RM3, says Fomca

NST Online - 24 November 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: RM3 as the retail floor price for a litre of petrol is what the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) would like to see.
"We should set a floor price that would encourage the prudent use of petrol, promote the use of public transport and push for development in alternative energy," Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah said when contacted by the New Straits Times yesterday.

Sha'ani said a floor price of RM1.92 per litre was too low to regulate the price of petrol. That was the price at the pump before the meteoric hike in price by 78 sen on July 1.

"Continued reductions in pump prices will only benefit those who drive their own vehicles but leave out low-income earners and the poor who do not own vehicles.

"At the same time, people will stop thinking about prudence in petrol use and start using their cars more, and then our roads will be jammed again."
Since the July 1 high of RM2.70 per litre of petrol, the government has been reducing prices in tandem with the fall in global crude oil prices. There is speculation that by early next month, pump prices will be below the pre-July prices.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad has proposed a price floor plan.

Yesterday, Shahrir gave the assurance that every detail would be considered before the government decided whether to implement a price floor plan for the pump.

He stressed that everyone must acknowledge that global oil prices were bound to go up at some point so the government would need something to fall back on.

"In the end, the money (for subsidies) has to come from somewhere.

"Even if we save the subsidy for petrol, it will still go to the consolidated fund, which in turn will be used for something else for the benefit of the people.

"Whatever the case, just wait for Dec 1 and the Economic Council will decide on it (price floor plan)."

The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa) agrees that the price floor plan is workable.

Cassa president Datuk Dr Jacob George, however, cautioned against imposing a price floor that was too far removed from the prevailing global crude oil price.

"We should not be seen as tampering with market forces because it may be viewed as Malaysians being unable to handle (the economic crisis)."

Both Sha'ani and George agreed that the crux of change lay in consumer habits.

Consumers, they said, must keep tabs on their petrol consumption and avoid waste.

The associations advised consumers to find an alternative mode of transport for their daily commute and consider at least a partial shift to public transport.

"Everyone is talking about saving 10 or 15 sen at the pump, but ultimately it is the millionaire who enjoys the low prices as this does not have much impact, if any, on the mid-income class," Sha'ani said.

He stressed that instead of pushing for lower prices of goods, the government should focus on bringing down the overall cost of the use of public amenities such as public transport, medical care and education.

Sha'ani noted that by allowing the private sector more freedom to set their own prices, it would help spur the economy and reduce the stranglehold of a handful of companies that monopolised the sale of certain goods such as sugar and flour.

George agreed that it was necessary to "get rid" of cartels and parallel importers, who he said were stifling the development of healthy competition among businesses.

"We need to promote competition which is good for everyone, and this is where we all can come together and come up with a plan which is fair and reasonable for both consumers and the business community.

"Consumers and the private sector need to compromise and this is where the government can play its part, by helping both sides come to a consensus.

"This is not the time for protests. This is the time for prudent thinking and we all need to be accountable and work according to our conscience." -

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fuel price cut will have ‘little impact’

PETALING JAYA: It will provide some relief but will not have much impact — that sums up the sentiments of the public on the fuel price reduction yesterday.

City folk were definitely happy but many doubt that prices of basic necessities would go down in tandem with the reduction.

Bus and lorry operators said it did not really benefit them as prices of other goods had gone up.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the reduction in fuel prices would not affect bus operators.

“For us, it’s still the same. We are still paying the subsidised rate of RM1.43 per litre for diesel,” he said.

He added that bus operators had also not felt the benefit of lower fuel prices as the cost of other products were still high.

“When the fuel prices shot up early this year, the price of everything else — batteries, lubricating oil and tyres — went up. Now, even though fuel prices are down, the price of these items are not coming down,” he said.

Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said that while he was happy with the reduced diesel prices, lorry owners still would not be able to absorb the escalating transport charges.

“Only a quarter of the diesel we use is subsidised, so yes it’s good that diesel prices are down.

“But all the other costs that have gone up are still going up. We can’t absorb the cost,” he said.

He gave the example of tyres, which would cost 15% more from Nov 1.

Tutor Tan Chin Swee, 48, said: “The sudden jump in petrol price a few months ago resulted in a spiral effect which pushed up the price of many daily necessities. I doubt that the reduction can undo the inflationary impact that an ordinary person is now facing.”

“Recession and inflation are inherent in any economy and are things that we have to live with,’’ Tan added.

Manager Gobal Rajee, 46, said he was happy with the reduction but felt that there would be little effect.

“We hope the prices of other goods will go down as well, otherwise it really makes no difference,’’ he said.

Civil servant Karim Jaabar, 37, said it was nothing to rejoice about if the prices of goods remain the same.

Administrative executive Theresa Heng, 49, said it was better than nothing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

U.N. says credit crisis could enable "green growth"

By Patrick Worsnip , Reuters UK, 11 October 2008

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Instead of sidelining the fight against climate change, the global credit crisis could hasten countries' efforts to create "green growth" industries by revamping the financial system behind them, the U.N. climate chief said on Friday.

But that would depend on governments helping poor countries -- who are key to saving the planet's ecology -- tackle their problems, instead of spending most available money on rescuing the financial world, Yvo de Boer told reporters.

De Boer said the financial "earthquake" that has seen markets plunge worldwide in recent weeks could damage U.N.-led climate change talks, but only "if the opportunities that the crisis brings for climate change abatement are ignored."

"The credit crisis can be used to make progress in a new direction, an opportunity for global green economic growth," de Boer, who heads the Bonn-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference.

"The credit crunch I believe is an opportunity to rebuild the financial system that would underpin sustainable growth ... Governments now have an opportunity to create and enforce policy which stimulates private competition to fund clean industry."

De Boer said a successful outcome to climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009 would create new markets, investment opportunities and job creation.

But he warned that "if available global capital is used primarily to refloat the financial world, we literally will sink the futures of the poorest of the poor.

"And I hope that the credit crunch will not mean that people in the South will have to wait for those in the North to have repaid their credit card debts and mortgages before attention is again turned to the South."

Without reaching out a hand to developing countries, it would be very difficult to make advances on the rest of the environmental agenda, De Boer said.

Environment ministers will meet in two months' time in Poznan, Poland, to prepare for the Copenhagen summit, which is due to agree on a new global-warming accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Ministers in Poznan must make clear they were "willing to put financial resources, the architecture, the institutions in place that will allow developing countries to engage in a global approach on both mitigation and adaptation," he said.

Funding did not have to all come from governments and he foresaw "an approach where we very much use the market".

De Boer said the financial crisis had not so far affected the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism, which allows rich countries to offset their carbon footprints by investing in clean energy projects in developing countries.

"I don't see a slowdown in the CDM pipeline at the moment," he said.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oil prices fall to lowest in eight months

Monday October 06 2008, Graeme Wearden,

Oil fell to its lowest level in eight months today, offering drivers and companies the hope of lower petrol prices in the weeks ahead.

The price of a barrel of US crude oil dropped to $89.38 in morning trading, a fall of $4. This followed sharp falls on world stockmarkets, reflecting concerns that demand for energy will drop as the global economy slows.

This is the first time since mid-February that a barrel of US crude has cost less than $90, and almost a year since it first broke through this level.

London Brent crude also fell this morning, losing almost $3.50 to $86.87.

For most of 2008 oil has been well over $100 a barrel, causing pain at the pumps where petrol now costs well over £1 a litre.

A litre of unleaded petrol currently costs an average of 109.9p in the UK, with diesel costing 121.5p a litre, according to

Typically it costs around six weeks for changes in the oil price to feed through to the consumers, but there are already signs that prices are falling. On Friday Asda and Morrisons both cut their fuel prices, with a litre of unleaded now costing 105.9p at Asda, and 106.6p at Morrisons.

Merrill Lynch analysts predicted last that the price of oil could sink to $50 a barrel next year, if the economic slowdown deepens into a recession.

However, oil-producing cartel Opec may cut production to stem falling prices. Last month, as oil slipped below the symbolic $100 a barrel mark, it reversed earlier plans to boost output.

Graeme Wearden

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Motorists taxed on car efficiency by 2010

By Renee Viellaris, September 15, 2008,

MOTORISTS could be taxed for driving pollution-pumping vehicles under a Federal Government plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A Vehicle Fuel Efficiency discussion paper released by the Rudd Government yesterday laid out a number of "potential measures", which also included reducing the cost of state registration and stamp duty charges for energy-saving vehicles.

The paper comes as the Government has committed to including transport in its emissions trading scheme, which will increase the cost of fuel when it is introduced in 2010.

In a bid to help motorists battling prices at the bowser, the Government has pledged to shoulder fuel increases at the pump by every cent they rise under an ETS - but only for three years.

The report, which called for public feedback by November, said emissions from the transport sector were the nation's third largest.

With more than 14 million registered vehicles on the roads, it was also one of the fastest-growing sources of carbon pollution in Australia.

"There is no silver bullet for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector (and) instead we need a structured and measured approach to this issue," the report said.

"The Australian Government's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will be the primary mechanism for reducing carbon dioxide emissions on an economy-wide basis.

"Reforms to address fuel efficiency will need to be complementary to the scheme to help reduce travel costs and carbon emissions for Australian motorists."

It put forward the potential for financial rewards and disincentives for motorists who bought new cars.

"(Consider) the development of a framework to realign state and territory stamp duty and/or registration for light vehicles on a sliding scale based on carbon dioxide emissions," it said.

"(Consider) a balanced set of direct financial incentives (rebates) and disincentives (surcharges) for the purchase of new vehicles based on the carbon dioxide emissions performance of a vehicle."

It also proposed the potential for a mandatory carbon dioxide standard for new light vehicles.

It comes as Climate Change Minister Penny Wong attends a four-day meeting in Argentina ahead of new international negotiations on climate change.

The talks aim to expedite United Nations negotiations.

And Environment Minister Peter Garrett also announced yesterday an extra $7.5 million - on top of the $23 million already pledged - would be directed at saving the Great Barrier Reef.

He said up to $4.5 million would help monitor water quality in rivers and wetlands, $2 million would pay for new water quality technologies and $1 million would be offered to traditional owners to conserve turtles and dugongs.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oil plunges below US$92 in Asia on US credit fears

Tuesday September 16, 2008, The Star online

SINGAPORE: Oil prices plummeted Tuesday in Asia, falling below US$92 a barrel as investors feared the U.S. credit crisis that brought down brokerage giant Lehman Brothers will drag on global economic growth and restrain demand for crude.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery tumbled US$3.77 to US$91.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange midday in Singapore.

The contract fell US$5.47 overnight to settle at US$95.71, the first time oil closed below US$100 since March 4.

In a stunning turn of events Monday on Wall Street, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., a 158-year-old investment bank, filed for bankruptcy after failing to find a buyer and Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to be bought out by Bank of America Corp.

"People are selling everything. It's a bit of panic,'' said Jonathan Kornafel, Asia director for market maker Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore.

"We may not have seen the end of demand destruction. It's scary what going on economic-wise right now, and that's why oil is selling off.''

The Dow Jones industrials lost 504 points, or 4.4 percent, on Monday in their worst point drop since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and Asian stock markets tumbled Tuesday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tried to calm markets, saying the American people can remain confident in the "soundness and resilience in the American financial system.''

Crude fell despite an attack by militants on an oil-pumping station operated by the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC in southern Nigeria with dynamite and other explosives Monday which killed at least one guard in the third day of heavy battles between the armed forces and militants fighters.

Shell said one guard died and four others suffered injuries in the battle, which prompted an evacuation of some facilities in the southern region.

No details were given about any effect on oil production.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the region's main militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Since it emerged nearly three years ago, the group has mostly focused on hobbling Nigeria's oil industry, bombing pipelines in hopes of forcing the federal government to send more revenues to the impoverished oil-producing south.

"When you start to see the market not paying attention to what's going on around it, the fundamentals are not being closely looked at,'' Kornafel said.

"This drop since mid-July seems a bit overdone.''

Crude has fallen about US$55 - or 37 percent - from its all-time trading record of US$147.27 reached July 11.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures fell 8.08 cents to US$2.7104 a gallon, while gasoline prices dropped 7.0 cents to US$2.4914 a gallon.

Natural gas for October delivery fell 8.4 cents to US$7.29 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, October Brent crude fell US$2.33 to US$90.27 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Brazil declines Saudi invitation to join OPEC

Meanwhile in Sao Paulo Brazil declined a recent invitation from Saudi Arabia to join OPEC, citing plans to refine, not export, crude oil from its recently discovered deep water reserves, top energy officials said Monday. (Tuesday monring Malaysian time).

Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao said Brazil determined it doesn't need the cartel, because it plans to boost oil income by refining crude into products like gasoline for export abroad, the state's Agencia Brasil news agency reported.

Paulo Roberto Costa, a high-ranking executive with Brazil's state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA oil company, confirmed the government had decided not to join OPEC.

"Brazil won't be a big exporter of oil, that's already defined,'' Costa told Agencia Brasil at the Rio Oil & Gas Expo 2008 industry conference in Rio de Janeiro.

"Brazil was invited to participate in OPEC and did not accept because our priority is refining here and exporting derivatives.''

Analysts say the reserves - found in the last year thousands of meters (feet) under the ocean floor and several hundred kilometers (miles) off the Rio de Janeiro coast - may contain 55 billion barrels of oil, enough to catapult Brazil to superpower oil status.

By refining its own oil, instead of shipping it abroad to be refined, Lobao said Brazil will generate more money and jobs at home.

The country is undergoing an economic boom but still has one of the world's deepest divides between rich and poor.

Under orders from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a commission of government ministers is examining possible changes in the nation's oil law.

Silva insists profits from the new oil discoveries be used to fight poverty and improve education.

Agencia Brasil said the Saudi OPEC invite came at a "recent'' meeting of oil producing nations, but gave no other details. OPEC met last week in Vienna.

Brazil last month declined an invitation extended by Iran to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Lobao did not specify why at the time, saying only that Brazil had "other priorities.''

Also Monday, Petrobras said it awarded contracts to build 10 new floating production, storage and offloading units to develop its new fields.

Petrobras will rent two units to produce 100,000 barrels a day by 2014, and will build eight others to produce up to 120,000 barrels a day by 2016, according to a company statement.

A spokesman declined to give disclose how much the contracts were worth or with whom they'd been signed.

U.S. traded shares of Petrobras plunged 11.7 percent to US$40.35 in New York on Monday, amid a global stock meltdown and oil prices that closed below $100 a barrel for the first time in six months. - AP

Oil tumbles, but when will petrol prices follow?

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent , 15/09/08,

The price of oil has fallen below $100 a barrel for the first time in nearly six months, as the likelihood of a severe global recession increased in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

# Oil markets escape Hurricane Ike mayhem

The price fell more than $4 to $97 US dollars a barrel. The last time the price was below $100 was April 2.

Petrol forecourts in Britain are now under pressure to cut the price of unleaded petrol and diesel, motoring groups said. They warned that drivers had missed out on the full benefit of the oil price fall earlier this summer, when it came down from its peak of $147 a barrel.

The fall in the price of oil came as investors digested the collapse of Lehman Brothers. With investors betting that the chaos on Wall Street would cause the credit crisis to deepen – and economies around the world to use less oil – investors started to sell the commodity.

The sell-off was also prompted by reports that suggested the damage from Hurricane Ike was less than feared.

The storm destroyed at least 10 oil and gas platforms and damaged pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico – only a small amount of the 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf. Three years ago, a series of hurricanes knocked out more than 100 platforms.

The AA warned that petrol prices on UK forecourts have not fallen as quickly as oil, with average unleaded petrol down from July's peak of 119.7p to only 112.8p at the weekend.

Average diesel prices have fallen from 133.3p to 124.2p. This compares to the 34 per cent fall in the oil price.

The AA said that petrol prices needed to fall by another 4 pence in the coming days, or motorists would lose out once again.

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the motoring group, said: "I am not hopeful. Petrol retailers have a history of dragging their feet."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Govt offers 2,000 permits and subsidised diesel to avert balik kampung travel crisis

PETALING JAYA: It is still uncertain whether all of the 2,000 temporary bus permits will be taken up despite the Government’s latest diesel subsidy offer to bus operators.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said he could not comment on whether school, factory and charter bus operators would lease out their buses, even with the subsidised diesel allocation.

Bus rush: An official of a bus company at the Hentian Putra bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur making a ‘time out’ sign with his hands as he tries to control the crowd rushing to buy bus tickets yesterday to balik kampung during the coming Hari Raya festive period. — AZMAN GHANI / The Star

“Some are willing to take on shorter routes while others are not willing at all,” he said.

He said he would have to study the details of the move announced by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad before commenting further.

Some 1,900 temporary licences were issued to school, factory and charter buses last year to cope with the Hari Raya crowd, but this year, there had been few takers so far despite the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar setting aside 2,000 temporary permits.

Today, Noh is meeting with bus operators in Kuala Lumpur to resolve this looming crisis that could leave tens of thousands of people who travel by bus back to their hometowns to celebrate the Hari Raya Aidilfitri in a quandary.

Bus operators had earlier said that it was “not economically feasible” to lease school, factory and charter buses, as the costs of operations were high.

Ashfar, prior to government's announcment assured there would be 300 to 400 extra buses to cater to the balik kampung crowd, but it was insufficient to meet the demand.

“Usually, we have about 21% extra buses to fill in for buses that are undergoing maintenance. We roll out all of them during festive periods,” said Ashfar.

It is learnt that many express bus operators were previously unhappy that they are only receiving between 4,000 and 5,000 litres of subsidised diesel per bus on average.

By Teh Eng Hock - The Star 4 September 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bus operators to get subsidy for Raya

PUTRAJAYA: Bus operators will be offered diesel subsidy of 9,000 litres for each additional express bus used between Sept 15 and Oct 15 during the balik kampung rush for the Hari Raya festival.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the decision was made by the Cabinet Wednesday to ensure there would be enough buses for Malaysians to go home for the festive season.

He added that the Government would be spending between RM100mil and RM150mil in subsidy.

Shahrir said the Cabinet was expecting an additional 2,000 express buses on the road with the move to offer the subsidy.

"This is in addition to the 30% surcharge and discounted toll charges to ensure Malaysians have enough transportation to get home.

"Last year there were about 1,900 additional buses during the festive season and we are expecting more this year with this move," he told reporters Wednesday after attending the launch of Bernama's web television by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi here.

The Cabinet decision was made based on complaints by bus operators that there would be a lack of buses this Hari Raya as school and factory bus operators refused to lease out their buses.

Bus operators had also said that the 30% surcharge allowed by the Government for the Hari Raya season, effective for one month from Sept 15, was inadequate to give the express bus operators sufficient capital to lease additional buses.

Shahrir added that Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar was expected to give more details on the Cabinet decision.

On whether there would be another announcement on the fuel price this month, Shahrir said he hoped that there would be a Hari Raya gift as the global oil price had dropped recently.

"In fact the announcement made late last month was supposed to be made this month as planned but when the world oil price dropped and Merdeka Day approached the Government decided to announce it last month itself.

"The same may happen this month too; we will announce (early) if there is good news," he said.

Source : The Star

Friday, August 29, 2008

30% surcharge likely for balik kampung bus tickets

PETALING JAYA: Those who plan to balik kampung by bus this Hari Raya may have to pay 30% more for their tickets.

Industry sources said the Government had agreed to impose a surcharge on stage and express bus fares from Sept 15 for a month.

Travellers from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Baru who were paying RM23.90 for a ticket each will now need to pay RM31.07 while those heading to Penang will have to pay RM34.84 instead of RM26.80.

Despite news of the increase, bus operators have yet to start selling tickets for the Hari Raya period as they are waiting for the Government to make an official announcement.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said they would not sell tickets in advance until they receive official confirmation.

“Otherwise, we don’t know for sure how much the tickets would be sold for or whether we might be penalised for selling at a new price without getting the nod from the authorities,” he said.

Ashfar said they would continue to push for a 100% fare increase, something they had been demanding for since late last year.

“This (30% increase) is just an interim measure. We are led to believe that the figure will be adjusted accordingly,” he said.

He said there might not be a need for a 100% fare hike if the Government announces goodies for the bus industry in Budget 2009.

Among the items asked for by operators are lower taxes for chassis, air-conditioning systems, spare parts, tyres and batteries, as well as the setting up of a fund by the Government to train new bus drivers.
By TEH ENG HOCK - The Star 28 August 2008

Express, stage bus fares up 30% for Raya

KUALA LUMPUR: Express and stage bus operators have been allowed to impose a 30% fare surcharge during the Hari Raya period.
Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar said the fare surcharge would come into effect between Sept 15 and Oct 15.
The government has allowed a 30% fare surcharge on express and stage bus tickets this Hari Raya.

He also hinted that bus fares would be raised after Hari Raya.
"If bus operators improve their services during the festive period, then we will consider giving them the fare hike they have been asking for since 2007," he said.
The last time bus fares were raised was in 2005.
Noh also said that fares for premier and executive buses would be liberalised, while the fare for economy class would continue to be controlled.

By TEH ENG HOCK - The Star -28 August 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

30 tips on how to save fuel ...

1 Drive Smoothly
Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than safe driving. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard and try to keep your steering as smooth as possible.

2 Use Higher Gears
The higher the gear you drive in the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So change up a gear whenever you can, without labouring the engine.

3 Tune and Service Your Engine
A well tuned engine can improve fuel economy by up to 4%, so change your oil and follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing.

4 Keep Your Tyres at the Right Pressure
Correctly inflated tyres are safer and last longer. A tyre that is under inflated by just 1psi can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3%. An under or over inflated tyre is also more susceptible to failing.

5 Avoid Carrying Excess Weight
For every extra 100 lbs (45 kg) you carry your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2%. So keep your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle.

6 Remove the Roof Rack
If you’re not using your roof rack, then remove it. They affect the aerodynamic efficiency of vehicles and create drag, reducing fuel economy by as much as 5%.

7 Use the Correct Oil
Always use the recommended grade of motor oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant can improve fuel efficiency by 1-2%. Higher quality motor oils can help your engine operate more efficiently.

8 Fuel Matters
All fuels are not created equal. Fuel economy is maximised in the engine through a combination of good driving habits and using the right fuel…one that helps reduce friction and improves cleanliness in the engine, thereby improving fuel efficiency. The Taylors have chosen Shell fuel to power their Guinness World Records as a result of their own personal tests of several commercially-available fuels and their belief in Shell’s product quality.

9 Avoid Excess Idling
Idling gets you nowhere but still burns fuel. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone, until you need it.

10 Plan Trips Carefully
Cutting down on the time spent in the car is the easiest way to conserve fuel. To reduce driving time, combine all your short trips and errands into a single journey.

For more tips please log on to :

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tips on Filling your Vehicles...

I don't know what you guys are paying for petrol... but here in Durban, we are also paying higher, up to 47.35 per litre. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth for every litre.

Here at the Marian Hill Pipeline, where I work in Durban, we deliver about 4 million litres in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline.

One day is diesel; the next day is jet fuel, and petrol, LRP and Unleaded. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 litres.

ONLY BUY OR FILL UP YOUR CAR OR BIKKIE IN THE EARLY MORNING WHEN THE GROUND TEMPERATURE IS STILL COLD. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the denser the fuel, when it gets warmer petrol expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening.... your litre is not exactly a litre.

In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the petrol, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products play an important role. A 1degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

WHEN YOU'RE FILLING UP, DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TRIGGER OF THE NOZZLE TO A FAST MODE. If you look, you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low,
middle, and high. In slow mode, you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapours that are created, while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapour return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapour. Those vapours are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TIPS IS TO FILL UP WHEN YOUR TANK IS HALF FULL. The reason for this is, the more fuel you have in your tank, the less air occupying its empty space. Petrol evaporates faster than you can imagine. Petroleum storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the petrol and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated, so that every litre is actually the exact amount.

ANOTHER REMINDER, IF THERE IS A FUEL TRUCK PUMPING INTO THE STORAGE TANKS, WHEN YOU STOP TO BUY, DO NOT FILL UP - most likely the petrol/diesel is being stirred up as the fuel is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

Hope, this will help you get the maximum value for your money.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bus fares to go up before Raya

PUTRAJAYA, July 29 — The government has agreed to raise fares for express and stage buses, but not up to 100 per cent as proposed by the Pan Malaysia Bus Operators' Association (PMBOA).

Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar said the ministry had appointed a consultant to look into a suitable level of increase and the new bus fares would be announced before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

"The study has been completed and we are now discussing the fare increase with the association," he told reporters after the presentation of the ministry's Excellent Service Award 2007 to recipients today.

Noh said the fare increase was unavoidable following the bus companies' higher operational costs, including the diesel price hike from 71 sen per litre to RM1.43 per litre since the last bus fare increase in 2005.

He said the higher operational costs were also due to the increase in the prices of tyres, engine oil, batteries and spare parts.

Yesterday, the PMBOA led by its president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali submitted a memorandum to the National Consultative Council on Inflation, chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, seeking a raise in bus fares by 100 per cent as demanded by the association in May.

Mohamad Ashfar said bus operators were all under pressure following the oil price hike and urged the government to act fast to enable them to operate as usual for the coming festive season.

On another development, Noh said the liberalisation system to separate economy-class buses from luxury buses would be implemented in two weeks whereby the government would control ticket prices for economy buses while the fares for luxury buses would be left to market forces.

"But we will ensure that bus companies allocate enough economy buses at all times so that commuters will not be inconvenienced by the shortage of such buses."

Noh also said his ministry would study the possibility of allowing school buses to be used for public transport in rural areas due to the poor bus service in these areas.

The problem was raised at the Meeting of Chief Ministers and Menteris Besar held here yesterday.

Noh said Mara had to spend RM3 million a year to provide rural bus services because other bus operators refused to do so as they felt such services were not profitable.

"There are about 20,000 school buses in the country, and the government is studying the relevant laws and regulations so that the function of the school buses can be expanded to include providing public transportation, while their use is limited during school holidays."

Noh said applications were still open to operators interested to provide mini bus services in rural areas where they could also use vans for such services.

"They need to apply to the ministry for a permit first to operate the service so that we can monitor it, especially in terms of safety," he added. — Bernama

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cabbies still want higher fares despite fuel subsidy

KUALA LUMPUR: Taxi operators still want to raise their fares despite being allowed to buy petrol at a subsidised price.

The entitlement for taxis nationwide to buy unleaded petrol at RM1.92 per litre would not be of much benefit, they said.

From July 27 onwards, all taxis can purchase petrol at the subsidised price up to 720 litres a month after applying for a fleet card from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry office in Putrajaya.
Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operations president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said it did not make any difference and it will not help ease the burden of taxi drivers as the subsidised price of RM1.92 per litre was the old price that they had been getting before the fuel price increase.

“We have been applying to the government to increase the initial fare charges from RM2 to RM3 since last year not because of the fuel price, but due to the rising cost of living.

“The RM1 increase could add to the revenue of a taxi driver who takes 10 passengers a day up by RM10,” he said, adding that this was the only way to help the taxi drivers earn more income.
He said that they would still insist on the raise in the initial fare charges despite the petrol subsidy for taxis.
Koperasi Perisai Perkasa Kuala Lumpur Berhad chairman Rosli Abdullah also agreed with Aslah about the RM3 proposed initial fare charge.

“Though the move by the government is beneficial, it would not make any difference to the majority of city taxi drivers. The subsidy would only help taxi drivers outside the city centre.

“This is because most taxi drivers in the city use NGV unlike outside the city where more taxis run on petrol. Therefore, the only way to help them is by increasing the fare charge,” he said.

Rosli also urged the government to extend the subsidy to diesel-run taxis as there were still taxis using diesel.
Former taxi company operator Asirvatham Jebamoney suggested that instead of subsidising the fuel, the government should come up with other forms of assistance to ease the burden of taxi drivers.
He recommended that the government give a subsidy on vehicles purchased for commercial purposes instead.

The Star - 20 July 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Road blocks may go on

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 – On the day that thousands of workers got to their offices late because road blocks all over the city had reduced traffic to a total standstill, the police are saying that road blocks just may go on as they are a necessity and "successfully prevented any illegal activities from taking place".

At a press conference in the KL Police Contingent headquarters in Jalan Hang Tuah today, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Datuk Wira Muhammad Sabtu Osman reiterated that police road blocks have proven to be an effective method in helping to curtail anti government activities which could threaten national security.Asked if there were any illegal gatherings in the city today following the blockade, he replied in the negative, "except Central Market but that was in small numbers".

Muhammad Sabtu dismissed claims from the Opposition political parties that employing such tactics amounted to police intimidation. "Oh, this is normal stuff. It's up to them to make their own conclusions. They can say anything they like."

A whopping 1,600 personnel were deployed for traffic duty today. Many angry motorists said they would have been better off fighting crime instead of causing traffic jams. "We mount road blocks based on information. Each time we get information (of an illegal gathering), we will confirm first."

Though he admitted that the road blocks delayed and inconvenienced the public, he reiterated security took priority over everything else. "So far, it hasn't effected on the economy. Don't touch on economy. Our main business is security. We cannot forgo security," he said emphatically.

He did say there was a big possibility the road blocks would be lifted tonight, but refused to confirm, adding cryptically, "We'll see."

Raya travel plans at risk

(TheStar) - Express bus operators may not sell tickets in advance for the Hari Raya break in October, as they are still not receiving the full amount of subsidised diesel that they need daily.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the promise made by the Government in June was not being implemented.

"When they asked for the full quota of subsidised diesel, they get responses such as the ministry (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry) had not received instructions from the Finance Ministry."

Ashfar said the latest excuse was that it would take three months before the full quota could be given through the fleet card system.

The fleet card system entitles bus operators to buy diesel at RM1.43 a litre. The current diesel price is RM2.58. Bus operators now receive about 70% of their daily quota at a subsidised price.
Ashfar said more problems would arise if the bus operators went ahead and sold tickets in advance without knowing when they would start receiving the full quota of subsidised diesel.
"If we are forced to stop operating because we cannot absorb the costs in the next three months, then both the passengers and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board can take action against us for selling tickets but not operating," Ashfar said.

Ashfar added that the association did not want the situation to reach that stage, and urged the ministry to help the industry.

In Johor Baru, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said he would have to refer to ministry officials over the issue.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Massive jams, Syed Hamid says sorry

KUALA LUMPUR: Police roadblocks leading into the city caused massive jams throughout Monday morning, with Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar issuing an apology to the Malaysian public but reiterating that the police operations were undertaken in the interest of public security.

Most major roads leading to the city have been experiencing traffic congestion since Saturday, when police launched Ops Padam and mounted roadblocks at 12 entry points into the city.

Police roadblocks at entry-points into the city since Saturday caused massive jams in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning. Police said they were preparing for illegal protests although Opposition parties denied they were planning any. - Starpic by Chan Tak Kong

Saying it was for security and safety, Syed Hamid said the roadblocks were carried out in the interest of the public and that the decision was made based on the many statements that were made calling people to demonstrate at Parliament.

He added that the police action had nothing to do with Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“The public want their safety, not demonstrations or interference with their daily life.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar at Parliament House on Monday. - Starpic

“We have got a lot of evidence to show that whatever they do - they (demonstrations) do interfere with public interest,” he said at the Parliament lobby on Monday.

Police said they were staving off an illegal gathering that Pakatan Rakyat was planning at Parliament or its grounds on Monday morning, in anticipation of a motion of no-confidence being filed against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Cabinet.

The police obtained a court order barring Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his supporters and the public from holding any rally or participating in it within a 5km radius of the Parliament building.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders have denied they were planning any such gathering.

Syed Hamid said after the police obtained their court order, Pakatan Rakyat had issued instructions to cool off on the purported rally.

“The police took the court order to ensure they can enforce law and order so that everyone who comes here (to Parliament) can feel protected and that their safety is not jeopardised.”

Syed Hamid said the police were only exercising their rights in taking preventive measures.

The roadblocks are expected to continue until midnight on Monday or until further notice.

In Dewan Rakyat, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected a motion by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) to seek an explanation on the heightened security measures imposed on roads in the city and the closure of routes to Parliament House.

Salahuddin said that the police roadblocks which began on Saturday had caused discomfort to the public.

“Parliament has become like a war-zone,” he said, adding that Pakatan Rakyat had not given any directive to its members to gather in Parliament on Monday.

Pandikar Amin said that the House could only discuss issues under the Standing Orders that were related to the House proceedings.

“The House cannot discuss anything that occurs outside this House.

“Security concerns which occur outside the House are not under my purview,” he added.

Source : The Star

Monday July 14, 2008 MYT 3:21:32 PM

Friday, July 4, 2008

How to reduce petrol and gas price.. Egg Logic

A man eats two eggs each morning for breakfast. When he goes to the grocery store he pays 60 cents a dozen.Since a dozen eggs won't last a weekhe normally buys two dozens at a time. One day while buying eggs he notices that the price has risen to 72 cents. The next time he buys groceries, eggs are 76cents a dozen.

When asked to explain the price of eggs the store owner says, "The price has gone up and I have to raise my price accordingly". This store buys 100 dozen eggs a day. He checked around for a better price and all the distributors have raised their prices. The distributors have begun to buy from the huge egg farms. The small egg farms have been driven out of business. The huge egg farms sell 100,000 dozen eggs a day to distributors. With no competition, they can set the price as they see fit.The distributors then have to raise their prices to the grocery stores. And on and on and on.

As the man kept buying eggs the price kept going up. He saw the big egg trucks delivering 100 dozen eggs each day. Nothing changed there. He checked out the huge egg farms and found they were selling 100,000 dozen eggs to the distributors daily. Nothing had changed but the price of eggs.
Then week before Thanks giving the price of eggs shot up to $1.00 a dozen. Again he asked the grocery owner why and was told, "Cakes and baking for the holiday". The huge egg farmers know there will be a lot of baking going on and more eggs will be used. Hence, the price of eggs goes up. Expect the same thing at Christmas and other times when family cooking, baking, etc. happen.

This pattern continues until the price of eggs is 2.00 a dozen. The man says, " There must be something we can do about the price of eggs".
He starts talking to all the people in his town and they decide to stop buying eggs. This didn't work because everyone needed eggs.
Finally, the man suggested only buying what you need. He ate 2 eggsa day. On the way home from work he would stop at the grocery and buy two eggs. Everyone in town started buying 2 or 3 eggs a day.
The grocery store owner began complaining that he had too many eggsin his cooler. He told the distributor that he didn't need any eggs. Maybewouldn't need any all week.

The distributor had eggs piling up at his warehouse. He told the huge egg farms that he didn't have any room for eggs would not need any for at least two weeks.

At the egg farm, the chickens just kept on laying eggs. To relieve the pressure, the huge egg farm told the distributor that they could buy the eggs at a lower price. The distributor said, " I don't have the room for the eggs even if they were free".
The distributor told the grocery store owner that he would lower the price of the eggs if the store would start buying again. The grocery store owner said, "I don't have room for more eggs. The customers are only buying 2 or 3 eggs at a time. Now if you were to drop the price of eggs back down to the original price, the customers would start buying by the dozen again".

The distributors sent that proposal to the huge egg farmers but the egg farmers liked the price they were getting for their eggs but, those chickens just kept on laying.

Finally, the egg farmers lowered the price of their eggs. But only a few cents.

The customers still bought 2 or 3 eggs at a time. They said, "when the price of eggs gets down to where it was before, we will start buying by the dozen." Slowly the price of eggs started dropping.

The distributors had to slash their prices to make room for the eggs coming from the egg farmers. The egg farmers cut their prices because the distributors wouldn't buy at a higher price than they were selling eggs for. Anyway, they had full warehouses and wouldn't need eggs for quite a while. And those chickens kept on laying.

Eventually, the egg farmers cut their prices because they were throwing away eggs they couldn't sell. The distributors started buying again because the eggs were priced to where the stores could afford to sell them at the lower price. And the customers starting buying by the dozen again.
Now, transpose this analogy to the gasoline industry.What if everyone only bought $10.00 worth of gas each time they pulled to the pump?

The dealer's tanks would stay semi full all the time. The dealers wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the huge tank farms. The tank farms wouldn't have room for the gas coming from the refining plants. And the refining plants wouldn't have room for the oil being off loaded from the huge tankers coming from the oil fields.
Just $10.00 each time you buy gas. Don't fill it up. You may have to stop for gas twice a week but, the price should come down.

Just think of this concept for a while. ..................please pass this concept around

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Join us in Facebook

One of the problems with carpool matching has always been the anxiety most people feel when faced with the prospect of sharing a car with someone they don’t know. We are trying to tap into the power of social networking to eliminate much of the fear that can come up when people try to find rides anonymously.

In this Pilot Project (funded by Mdec), we hope by combining the ride-matching function with the reassurance of perusable user profiles (via Facebook Networking) , we can promote carpooling more effectively and successfully.

After all we are only suggesting that you try carpooling once a week, or at least recommend to friends or relatives that might need to carpool.

Join us in building the Carpooling Community in Facebook now , see you there.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wondering how much the others are paying for their gasoline ??

Country/Territory USD $/Ltr RM/Ltr Date of price
Venezuela (Caracas) 0.05 0.16 1/12/2008
Turkmenistan 0.08 0.26 11/25/2006
Nigeria (Lagos) 0.10 0.32 3/13/2005
Iran 0.11 0.35 6/27/2008
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) 0.12 0.39 5/16/2007
Bahrain (Manama) 0.27 0.87 4/29/2008
Egypt (Cairo) 0.32 1.03 5/5/2008
UAE 0.37 1.19 5/27/2008
Brunei 0.39 1.26 6/5/2008
Trinidad and Tobago 0.48 1.55 5/26/2008
Mexico (Mexico City) 0.62 2.00 5/5/2007
Indonesia 0.65 2.09 6/19/2008
North Korea 0.71 2.29 2006-11
China 0.81 2.60 6/20/2008
Malaysia 0.84 2.70 6/5/2008
Russia (Moscow) 1.05 3.38 6/9/2008
Taiwan 1.05 3.38 6/8/2008
Pakistan 1.06 3.41 5/4/2008
Colombia 1.07 3.45 5/24/2008
Honduras 1.07 3.45 5/26/2008
United States 1.08 3.49 6/19/2008
Thailand 1.21 3.90 6/8/2008
Philippines (Cebu) 1.22 3.93 5/27/2008
South Africa 1.23 3.96 5/27/2008
Moldova (Chisinau) 1.24 3.99 6/20/2008
Chile 1.27 4.09 5/29/2008
Ukraine 1.33 4.28 6/1/2008
Canada 1.36 4.38 6/23/2008
India (NOIDA) 1.36 4.38 6/18/2008
Sri Lanka 1.46 4.70 6/8/2008
Dominican Republic 1.51 4.86 5/27/2008
Australia 1.52 4.89 6/25/2008
Brazil (São Paulo) 1.59 5.12 4/29/2008
Japan 1.60 5.15 6/16/2008
Singapore 1.60 5.15 5/22/2008
Uruguay (Montevideo) 1.60 5.15 1/12/2008
New Zealand 1.62 5.22 6/12/2008
Estonia 1.79 5.76 6/20/2008
Romania (Bucharest) 1.85 5.96 6/11/2008
Cyprus 1.87 6.02 6/7/2008
Slovenia 1.87 6.02 6/17/2008
Switzerland (Zurich) 1.88 6.05 5/28/2008
Croatia 1.95 6.28 6/24/2008
Greece 1.95 6.28 5/12/2008
Guatemala 1.95 6.28 5/12/2008
South Korea 1.95 6.28 2008-06
Hungary 1.99 6.39 5/15/2008
Poland (Krakow) 2.06 6.63 6/6/2008
Israel 2.10 6.76 5/31/2008
France 2.13 6.86 5/6/2008
Spain (Madrid) 2.14 6.89 6/20/2008
Hong Kong 2.20 7.08 6/6/2008
Monaco 2.20 7.08 5/6/2008
Iceland 2.25 7.25 5/27/2008
Sweden 2.30 7.41 5/22/2008
United Kingdom 2.31 7.44 6/15/2008
Italy 2.32 7.47 5/18/2008
Finland 2.35 7.57 5/28/2008
Denmark (Copenhagen) 2.46 7.92 5/28/2008
Belgium (Brussels) 2.48 7.99 6/20/2008
Eritrea 2.53 8.15 5/6/2008
Turkey 2.68 8.63 4/22/2008
Norway (Oslo) 2.73 8.79 6/25/2008
Sierra Leone 4.87 15.68 5/1/2008

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